|06-21-2005, 02:01 PM||#1|
Join Date: Apr 2001
A note on Juries then and now (Killen convicted spinoff)
Former Klan Leader Found Guilty in 1964 Slayings
By EMILY WAGSTER PETTUS
Associated Press Writer
PHILADELPHIA, Miss. (AP) -- An 80-year-old former Ku Klux Klansman was convicted of manslaughter Tuesday in the 1964 slayings
of three civil rights workers -- exactly 41 years after they disappeared.
The jury of nine whites and three blacks reached the verdict on their second day of deliberations, rejecting murder charges against
Edgar Ray Killen.
Killen showed no emotion as the verdict was read. He was comforted by his wife as he sat in his wheelchair, wearing an oxygen tube. Heavily armed police formed a barrier outside a side
door to the courthouse and jurors were loaded into two waiting vans and driven away.
Civil rights workers James Chaney, Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner were ambushed on June 21, 1964. Their bodies were found
44 days later buried in an earthen dam. They had been beaten and shot.
The notorious case inspired the 1988 film "Mississippi Burning."
Prosecutors had asked the jury to send a message to the rest of the world that Mississippi has changed and is committed to bringing to justice those who killed to preserve segregation in the 1960s. They said the evidence was clear that Killen organized the attack on the three victims.
Killen's lawyers conceded he was in the Klan but said that did not make him guilty of murder. They pointed out that prosecutors
offered no witnesses or evidence that put Killen at the scene of the crime. Killen did not take the stand, but has long claimed that he was at a wake at a funeral home when the victims were killed.
Killen, a part-time preacher and sawmill operator, was tried in 1967 on federal charges of violating the victims' civil rights. But
the all-white jury deadlocked, with one juror saying she could not convict a preacher. Seven others were convicted, but none served more than six years.
Killen is only person ever brought up on murder charges in the case by the state of Mississippi.
|06-21-2005, 02:02 PM||#2|
Join Date: Apr 2001
I thought the bolded comment was revealing with regards to the discussion of the Michael Jackson jury and the results of that case...
It's not a perfect system. Never has been. But it's the best one going...